See the complete list of graduate programs at the IU South Bend Graduate Studies site.
Preparing for Graduate School
Spend some time exploring if graduate school is really for you. Talk to your professors about what their experiences were like and ask them what they enjoy and dislike about their current work.
Interested in attending a graduate program in Psychology?
Review the American Psychological Association website.
Interested in attending a graduate program in social work?
Contact the director of the IU South Bend Master of Social Work about the IU MSW program and other related programs.
For a complete list of graduate programs at IU South Bend, visit: https://academics.iusb.edu/graduate-program/index.html.
Here are a few ideas to prepare yourself to be a good candidate for graduate school:
- Publish a paper in one of IU South Bend's undergraduate journals
- Present a paper at an undergraduate student conference
- Attend a regional or national conference
- Obtain a research grant
- Participate in an Honors Program and become a member of Psi Chi, the national honor society for psychology
- Get involved in the Psychology Club
- Obtain an internship in a field of interest
- Contact the Office of Student Life for service learning opportunities
- Seek out volunteer experience that you enjoy by talking with your professor, advisor, or classmates
- Visit the American Psychological Association Graduate and Post-Doctoral page for more advice and a list of psychology associations
Cultivate relationships with at least three of your current professors before appearing at their door asking for a reference. This is not the step to request the recommendation from your professors, but rather an ongoing process of building rapport with your professors so they have enough good material to work with when they write you an excellent recommendation in the future.
Keep in mind that a good letter of recommendation reports your academic performance and achievements, while an excellent letter of recommendation will demonstrate the intimate connection between you and your letter writer. Go to our faculty page and browse the research interests of your professors. If you find something that interests you, take a class with that professor or stop by their office to find out more about their research.
Program requirements will vary depending on the institution, but there are some main components of the graduate school application that you can prepare for. Read the article, Graduate Admissions 101: Parts of the Grad School Application, for a detailed description of the required Transcripts, Graduate Record Exams (GREs), Letters of Recommendation, Admissions Essay, and Interview.
For more detail, check out the books, The Complete Guide to Graduate School Admissionand Graduate Admissions Essays, from the IU South Bend Career Services Office (520-4425).
You should begin working on your admissions essay as early as possible to allow for several drafts. Seek the guidance of your advisor or other mentor in editing your drafts. Check out All About the Graduate Admissions Essay to begin drafting your admissions essay.
Choosing a Graduate Program
Your professors and advisors have already been through the process of applying to and getting accepted into graduate programs and they might have some programs in mind that would be a great fit for you. Meet with your advisor or professor to discuss your options for graduate school and remember to return and ask them for letters of recommendation.
When you request a letter of recommendation, you want to make sure that you are asking someone who can speak highly of you. Ideally, you will have successfully completed a course with the professor and they will already be aware of your motivation to learn by your excellent grades or added effort on research projects and assignments. When approaching a professor about a letter of recommendation, provide them with adequate information. The following materials would be helpful:
- unofficial transcript
- list of academic and non-academic accomplishments
- relevant statements from the departments to which you are applying (areas of specialization and the qualities they are looking for in an applicant)
- a draft statement about your interests in pursuing graduate study--what you want to study and why and how
- any other information you would like the professor to highlight in the letter
If you have read a book or article you really liked, locate the author and email them about their department. The response you get from faculty members might impact your decision to apply to their department and could even secure a future mentor.
Investigate the schools you are interested in more thoroughly by looking at their web pages. Here is some information to look for:
What Master's and Ph.D. programs are available?
Visit About.com Graduate School to learn the difference between Masters and Doctoral programs.
What are the topical and geographical research interests of their faculty?
Make sure that you examine faculty résumés (which we call a curriculum vitae CV) and browse through each faculty's current publications.
Are there any funding opportunities?
Browse the departmental and non-departmental funding that is available and pay attention to the criteria and deadlines.
What is required in my application file?
Most institutions will require a statement of purpose or personal essay, but the word counts may vary. Look to see if GRE scores are required and if they have stated a minimum score.
As you narrow your list of possible schools, call each department's graduate school advisor (or chairperson) and ask more specific questions, such as:
- What percentage of the faculty publish with students?
- What do you consider to be the department's main strengths and weaknesses?
- What unique opportunities does the department offer?
- Where have the last few graduating classes gotten jobs?
- For how many years do you typically fund graduate students?
If you're interested in working with a particular faculty member, find out if they have worked with (e.g., co-authored an article) graduate students and if their students have graduated.
If at all possible, arrange to visit a program and sit in on a class. Talk to students to get the "lowdown" on the program. Some departmental web sites have e-mail addresses for the graduate students and you might be able to communicate directly with some students before or after your visit. Arrange meetings with the Director of Graduate Programs and other faculty as well. They might remember you and your interest in their program come admissions time.